Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said Monday, December 19, that his country fought not so much for its own interests as in defense of the world’s poorest countries at last week’s WTO conference in Hong Kong.
On his weekly radio program, Lula said that Brazil achieved important advances in the talks to eliminate rich nations’ agricultural subsidies despite the fact that Brasília is not as dependent as many other countries upon farm production and exports.
"There are countries that are dependent only and exclusively on their agricultural production. That’s the case with poor countries in Latin America and Africa," said the Brazilian leader.
"If the rich world doesn’t open its markets so that (the poor nations) can sell the cotton they produce, the sugar they produce, the corn they produce, those (rich) countries will not be complying with the Millennium Goals," he said.
The United Nations’ eight Millennium Development Goals range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015.
They form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all leading development institutions, and they have galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest.
"So, Brazil is fighting much less in defense of Brazil, because Brazil is competitive and has technology, and Brazil is not afraid to compete with any country," Lula said.
He said that Brazil is fighting for the success of the World Trade Organization negotiations so that the whole world can fulfill the Millennium Goals.
In the final declaration of the WTO at its conference last week in Hong Kong, the organization’s 150 member nations agreed to eliminate the agricultural export subsidies of the most developed countries by 2013.
The establishment of a deadline by which subsidies are to be eliminated was pushed for very strongly by the so-called Group of 20 (G-20) led by Brazil and India and comprised of agricultural exporting nations that oppose the supports that developed countries give their farmers.
"In Hong Kong, we finished a very important round of foreign trade negotiations in which the poor countries and emerging countries, like Brazil, demanded that the rich countries renounce the subsidies they accord to agriculture so that the poor and emerging (nations) may have better access to the international market," Lula said.
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